Winter Feast For The Soul Newsletter
Winter Feast For The Soul
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In this Issue:

-Director’s Letter
-Announcing Our NEW Meditation Master Index!
-2014 Winter Feast Faculty List

-Join Our Facebook Group

-Founder’s Inspiration

-Volunteers Needed

-Your Donations Sustain Us

“
What nine months does for the embryo
Forty early mornings
Will do for your growing awareness
Jelaluddin Rumi
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Director’s Letter – A Month of Gratitude

Dear Friends,

November is one of my favorite months of the year. Everything is coming together for the 2014 Winter Feast. We have our teachers lined up and preparing their meditations for you. We also have other activities and plans in play to help the coming Winter Feast to generate even more peace, harmony and beauty on the planet than it has in the past.

In the northern hemisphere, the leaves have fallen, the cold weather is settling in, and we feel the rotation of the seasons, perhaps more than at any other time of year. Thanksgiving Day is celebrated at the end of November in the US, reminding us of the bounty we have to be thankful for, even when times are hard and even when our loved ones cannot be with us. We can all find much to be thankful for, and Thanksgiving is a universal holiday that anyone of any belief, tradition, political persuasion, or nationality can celebrate with others in the most universal way. We all feel gratitude for the many gifts and blessings we receive.

Some of those gifts are tangible, but others may not be so obvious and may have even more value to us. When I look hard at my own conscience, I discover that I probably don’t express gratitude to others often enough for:

  • The gift of attention
  • The gift of listening
  • The gift of appreciation
  • The gift of compassion
  • The gift of time shared together

Most of the time, the people who love us want our presence more than presents. Time spent sharing a moment together creates memories that can last a lifetime—the kind that get recalled in old age and written into family histories. The kind we recall with gratitude.

Meister Eckhart said, “If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is thank you, that would suffice.”

Meister Eckhart said, “If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is thank you, that would suffice.” For those of us who celebrate a Thanks Giving season, and for those who stop to give thanks every day, let’s pause for a few moments this month to consider with gratitude all the less than obvious gifts that we receive every day, and let’s commit for the rest of the year to do acts of kindness and give gifts of ourselves that are valuable to others. Let us also remember with compassion and generosity all those who are less fortunate or have suffered great tragedy. We are all in this together.

With gratitude,
Kaye Vivian
kaye@winterfeastforthesoul.com

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Announcing Our NEW Meditations Master Index!

This time last year we had just completed some marketing research that asked how we can improve the Winter Feast. The overwhelming response we received was that we need to make the meditations easier to find and access. We listened, and I’m very happy to announce that on November 15 we went live with a big enhancement to our web site – a Meditations Master Index. This Index lets you find meditations by teacher or by tradition, and links directly to all the meditations under each category or teacher. We had help from volunteer Darlene Rossi to put this list together.

Now it’s possible to see in one place all the meditations of each individual teacher, or to find all the meditations available in a particular religious or spiritual tradition. In addition, we have created a non-English section, so it’s easy to find all the Spanish, German, French and other non-English meditations on their own pages. We think you will find this Index a big improvement! You will no longer need to access Talkshoe, and it will take fewer clicks to get where you want to go. Teacher profiles will also be available right on their own meditations page.

Go to Meditations Index

We are pretty excited about this BIG improvement, and would love to get your feedback on it. Try it out today! Maybe it will be a jump start for you if you have let your daily practice slide. If you try it out, send us an email or post a note in our Facebook discussion group. You can also let us know what improvements you’d like to see next. We’re still listening…

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2014 Winter Feast for the Soul Teachers List

Today we get to reveal our teaching faculty for the coming Winter Feast. I’m very excited about this year, because we are stepping more strongly into our goal of broadening our international audience. We have developed a close alliance with The Awakening Network in Australia. In prior years, we have offered meditations in Spanish, French and German. This year we are offering Spanish, German, Italian, as well as French and Portuguese! If you have friends who speak any of these languages, please let them know they can participate in the 2014 Winter Feast. We welcome people of all nationalities, and hope we will continue to develop our reach globally in coming years.

This year we have two interesting changes to announce. Many of you have made a point to tell us how much you enjoy Davidji’s meditations. This year Davidji will be doing something new for the Feast, something that we are currently discussing with him. We will update you on Davidji, as well as any additional teachers not on the list below in mid-December.

The other change is more of an experiment. We know that some of you have been meditating or teaching meditation for years, and would value training that is a little more advanced. Don Kollmar (see Valerie’s article in this newsletter) is helping us to experiment with meeting that need. Don will present a meditation every fourth day. In between each new meditation, participants will repeat the current meditation three times, with the intention to go deeper with each repetition. We would love feedback about your experience if you decide to follow Don’s track. Of course, you can repeat meditations from any of our teachers at any time and receive deeper insights, too. That is how the practices work.

I’m very pleased to present our 2014 faculty roster to-date. There may be a few more additions as we get closer to January. In an upcoming newsletter, I will give you pictures and profiles of all our teachers so you can learn a little more about them and their work.

Returning Faculty for 2014

Anam Thubten – Buddhism – Tibetan
Carl McColman – Christian – Contemplative Prayer
David Less – Universal Meditations – Western Sufism
Eric Klein – Universal Meditations – Practices based upon the Bhagavad Gita
Melinda Ribner – Kabbalah
Miguel de Anguin – Spanish Language Meditations

New Faculty for 2014

Brian Yosef Schachter-Brooks – Kabbalah
Don Kollmar – Universal Meditations – Uncovering the Language of the Soul
Sarah McLean – Universal Meditations - Simple, Easy Meditation for Beginners
Lacey Segal – Teen and Young Adult Meditations
Elizabeth Mellor – Children’s Meditations
Anne Vetter – German Language Meditations
Sophia Luypaert – Italian Language Meditations

Each of these wonderful and talented people has generously donated the time and energy it will take to create 40 days of bliss for you. Their profiles and pictures will be in our next newsletter. We are thrilled and deeply grateful for their gifts. I hope you will mark January 15-February 23 on your calendar now to remind you to take your own 40 day journey with us! As usual, there is no cost to participate in the Winter Feast.

I am also pleased to announce that Diana Anderson, who has done a marvelous job of working with our teachers to help resolve past technical issues, will be joining us again part-time this month. Many of you have corresponded with her in the past year. Having Diana aboard helps to make my transition into the Director’s role even easier!

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Join Our Facebook Discussion Group!

Our Facebook Meditation Coaching & Support Group continues to grow.  We now have 630 members!  Come join and share your thoughts about spiritual practice, meditation, insights or experiences you have had, or your favorite teacher’s best meditations.  There are plenty of helpful people there who can answer questions, too, if you have any.  And feel free to invite your friends. Here’s the link to join:


https://www.facebook.com/groups/486291751420975/ 

Everyone is welcome!

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Founder’s View - Uncovering the Language of the Soul

If you want to contact the Soul, then you must learn its language. I have long known that the Soul’s language is not expressed in words or thoughts. The language of the soul is expressed in sensing and feeling.

The language of the soul is expressed in sensing and feeling.

In general, the inspirations that show up during a meditation as images and ideas are products of your ego and your mind.  I have often encouraged you to become the Witness, so that you realize that they are not you and you are not those thoughts.  Standing back from the mind’s activity and becoming the Witness felt like a most powerful place to stand … until now.  As I learned recently, even when we identify ourselves as the Witness, there is still an I (ego) there.  The evolution of daily spiritual practice goes on endlessly.  As the universe evolves, so do we.  As we evolve, so does our practice.  Such findings keep us on our toes, and make it fresh each and every day. 

In September, I had an opportunity to look more deeply at my own daily meditation practice. Having stepped back from the daily responsibilities of the Feast, I found that I was finally free to take a weeklong meditation intensive called The Horizon Event with Don Kollmar, a teacher from Holland. For some time now, a trusted friend and spiritual companion had recommended Don's work to me, but I was just too busy to follow up. The fact that the event was held in Aptos, California on the Monterey Bay--during the annual whale and dolphin migration--gave me an added incentive to make the week happen. To say The Horizon Event was life-changing is an understatement. It is with gratitude that I am able to share an aspect of this experience with you here.

The evolution of consciousness has been the major theme in my life for as long as I can remember. I have studied the techniques offered by a number of traditions, and I hold each of them in high regard and appreciate them, in different ways and at different times. The meditations of that week were like no others that I have experienced.

I recall reading an interview with Eckhart Tolle recently, where he was asked by the interviewer how he kept himself from drifting into the past or the future during his meditations. Tolle replied that he knows when he has drifted into the mind world, because he will feel excited, agitated, or maybe even depressed as he is tumbled around in the future. Eckhart spoke of balancing presence and stillness, and living our lives from an awakened consciousness. He said that we must move from an old consciousness to a new consciousness. Those were inspirational words that I have heard before. But how does one do that? I think I now have a glimmer of how that is done with regularity and precision, but I’m limited by space from writing more.

It will be my privilege to give you the opportunity to experience what I’ve learned during the coming months. Don has agreed to record an interview for us later this month, and we will air it in December. Don is a very humble man whose students promote him and his unique teachings. He doesn’t promote himself. You can believe me when I say that it was my idea to invite him to join our faculty for the coming Winter Feast. He has now agreed to lead a series of meditations for the 2014 Winter Feast. His work may not be for everyone, but it will be a catalyst for many of you as you progress in your practice. I have been a meditator for over 30 years (off and on to be sure), and this work has catapulted my practice like no other has done.

The language of the soul is sensing, and the meditations that are offered give clear guidance to embrace that language. Through sensing, it is my experience that one reaches an entirely new relationship with stillness … with Space. One becomes that Space. It is in that Space that thoughts occur, but they don’t hijack you from your intent for long.

It is my experience that one reaches an entirely new relationship with stillness … with Space. One becomes that Space. It is in that Space that thoughts occur, but they don’t hijack you from your intent for long.

I have found that I can engage in this delicate soul language with attentiveness and a new level of alertness.  There is no longer drifting off during my practice.  Soul lives in the present, and I am fully there in that communion. 

Of course, it is difficult to express an abstract experience in words. I will leave the rest for Don to share during our upcoming interview.  What I can say is that I am able to live in deep gratitude for all the events in my life, even those that I do not particularly like.  I wish the same for you. 

Have a blessed and bountiful Thanksgiving, if that is your holiday.  I am grateful to be able to contact you through these letters.  May they inspire you, and keep you faithful to your practice.  Peace begins in our very own hearts. 
Sending You Love and Support,

Valerie
valerie@winterfeastforthesoul.com

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Volunteers Needed

If you or someone you know would be willing to volunteer a little time to Winter Feast, we would greatly appreciate your expertise!  Here are some current needs we have for volunteers.  If you can spare from 1-3 hours per week, we’d love to have your help.

  • Legal Advice, especially help with 501(c)(3) filing
  • Mailing list help, to create sub-sets of our existing mailing list for specialized mailings
  • Web site review to help us catch errors in our revisions

Reminder: We are still accepting coordinators who want to host weekly or daily meditations during the Winter Feast. Please complete the form here:

http://www.winterfeastforthesoul.com/index2.php?dest=commit_organizer

Thank you!

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Donations

Winter Feast for the Soul is a nonprofit organization that relies solely on donations for our operations and programs. As we approach the end of 2013, we would appreciate your financial support so we can continue to bring you the variety and depth of spiritual teaching that enhances your life. As a small organization with a small budget, we need your help to make Winter Feast available to more people worldwide. Some activities we would like to begin include a web site redesign for easy mobile access and better international content, an outreach program for veterans and their families, and increasing our library of recorded interviews with leading spiritual teachers. And of course, our Prison In-Reach program needs funds year-round to support training and supplies for the volunteers who correspond with inmates. If you are interested in helping us achieve these goals, please consider making a year-end contribution to Winter Feast for the Soul. Your contribution of any size will be deeply appreciated. And for those of you who so generously donated to support us last month, thank you!

Your contributions are tax deductible, and enable us to continue offering the Winter Feast and other programs for free. We greatly appreciate your support and thank you!


Winter Feast For The Soul
Director – Kaye Vivian
Founder – Valerie Skonie
Web site: www.winterfeastforthesoul.com

Home: www.winterfeastforthesoul.com
Email: kaye@winterfeastforthesoul.com
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